I talked with our agency again today and it looks like we probably won't be traveling on Trip One until March. It could happen sooner, but we're not holding our breath. We are still first in line for a referral and today we were asked if we would consider siblings ... a boy and a girl. I almost instinctively said, "Yes, of course!", but then I came to my senses. Hello, we already have FOUR boys! I let her know that we really needed to wait for a girl or girl siblings. They will have no trouble finding a family ecstatic about little boy and girl siblings. It just wasn't us. She understood and even expected our response. (I'm just guessing, but this might explain why they asked our SW to speed up another family's paperwork too.)
Then she wanted to know if we would be flexible on the age, specifically if we would consider a child younger than our stated preference of 2 to 3 years old, and if we would consider twin girls. That one was easier. You bet!
I asked for a tentative timeline so I can let my employer know when I'll be taking time off and so we can make sure we have someone lined up to keep the boys while we are gone. Here is a best-guess estimate of our schedule now:
Agency will receive our paperwork and registration package from SW by next week. It will take another week to get it translated and legalized in Russia. Based on our preferences and family dynamics, Agency will look at all the *regions* they work in to find the best match for us. We'll have approximately 3 weeks to make a decision and arrange our travel plans. Once we receive medical information about our little girl, we'll contact Dr. Skurlovich.
Dr. Skurkovich is the director of the International Adoption Clinic at Hasbro Children's Hospital in Providence, RI. He graduated from medical school in Moscow, Russia in 1978. He is U.S. Board Certified in Pediatrics and Pediatric Infectious Diseases. He is experienced in reading medical evaluations (in Russian or English) and appropriately interpreting them. One of the reasons we have decided to use him is that he has personal knowledge of the Russian medical system (including the scary diagnosis they give almost every child) and he can communicate with any Russian-speaking medical professional directly. He also has access to all pediatric specialists (geneticist, surgeons, psychiatrists, psychologists, neurologists, cardiologists, etc) in case their advice is necessary.
Martin and I are planning to attend the Vanderbilt Children's Hospital Pre-Adoption seminar on April 5. There will be several sessions that cover topics in development, attachment, medical needs of a newly adopted child and how to prepare while you wait. They will even teach us practical things like how to measure the child's head circumference, etc.
I also visited the Vanderbilt's International Adoption Clinic today to discuss the Post Adoption services they offer. The clinic sees newly adopted children two or three weeks after the family's return to the United States. The staff works closely with the child's primary care physician to develop a follow-up treatment plan and provide ongoing support and assistance for any specialty care needed. During the first 3 months after adoption our child will have 2 visits in the clinic to see a team of providers who will focus on the medical and developmental issues seen commonly in internationally adopted children. The team includes a physician, developmental psychologist and an occupational therapist. During these appointments, they will do the laboratory blood-work recommended for children just arriving in the country. It is our hope that all this is just precautionary, but if there are issues, we'd like to be sure to catch them early. We want to do everything in our power to help ease her adjustment to a new country and being part of a big loving family.
I am excited that my brother's wife, Cori, and my niece, Rachel, (age 6) will be traveling with us on Trip Two. Cori, a.k.a. Dr. Peck, is also a pediatric doctor. Our boys are crazy about Rachel and I think it will be nice to have a girl playmate for our new daughter. That makes a total of 9 people traveling in Russia -- 10 (or 11) once the adoption is finalized. I checked with our agency to confirm it won't be a problem. She said we'll be fine. Given what I've heard about the size of Russian cars, I wonder if we'll have to charter our own bus!?!
*Possible Regions: St. Petersburg, Kemerovo, Perm, Cheboksary, and Ufa*
Wow, I didn't mean for this "quick update" to turn into a novel. There is just so much information to process. Writing it down seems to help me get my brain around it all.